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2 Samuel 12-14

Supplemental notes for the Daily Bible Study Bible Reading Plan

by Wayne Blank

2 Samuel Chapter 12

David's adultery with Bathsheba, a violation of the Seventh Commandment ("Thou shalt not commit adultery") was further complicated with an unlawful killing, a violation of the Sixth Commandment ("Thou shalt not kill"), of Bathsheba's husband Uriah (the adultery did not "escalate" into something more serious, an unlawful killing, because all of The Lord's Ten Commandments are equal in seriousness e.g. violating the Sabbath is just as serious as murder). The Lord sent Nathan The Prophet to rebuke David, using David's own response to an allegory that the former shepherd could relate to.

Sheep

"And The Lord sent Nathan to David. He came to him, and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds; but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children; it used to eat of his morsel, and drink from his cup, and lie in his bosom, and it was like a daughter to him."

"Now there came a traveler to the rich man, and he was unwilling to take one of his own flock or herd to prepare for the wayfarer who had come to him, but he took the poor man's lamb, and prepared it for the man who had come to him."

"Then David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, "As The Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die; and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity."

"Nathan said to David, "You are the man!" Thus says The Lord, the God of Israel, 'I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul; and I gave you your master's house, and your master's wives into your bosom, and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah; and if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. Why have you despised the word of The Lord, to do what is evil in His sight? You have smitten Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and have taken his wife to be your wife, and have slain him with the sword of the Ammonites." (2 Samuel 12:1-9 RSV)

The Lord's wrath then came.

"Then Nathan went to his house. And The Lord struck the child that Uriah's wife bore to David, and it became sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in and lay all night upon the ground. And the elders of his house stood beside him, to raise him from the ground; but he would not, nor did he eat food with them.

On the seventh day the child died." (2 Samuel 12:15-18 RSV)

David and Bathsheba were forgiven, for the sake of Israel and the royal line that had been established for a greater purpose (see the Fact Finder question below). They had another child, Solomon, who would be king of Israel after David.

"Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her, and lay with her; and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And The Lord loved him, and sent a message by Nathan the prophet; so he called his name Jedidiah, because of The Lord." (2 Samuel 12:24-25 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 13

Although the situation with Bathsheba was overcome, David's family problems were just beginning. Tamar was a daughter of King David and Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur (2 Samuel 3:3, 13:1). Absalom was Tamar's full brother; he was also a son of David and Maacah. Amnon was King David's firstborn son, born to Ahinoam of Jezreel (1 Chronicles 3:1, 2 Samuel 3:2); Tamar and Absalom, and their half-brother Amnon, all had the same father, King David, but different mothers.

Tamar Amnon found himself in a state of lustful infatuation with his young half-sister Tamar; after she consistently rejected his advances, he brutally ravished her. Thereafter his "love" for her immediately turned to loathing and contempt, manifesting the very-common human trait of someone hating a person they have injured or wronged, a warped psychological maneuver in an attempt to soothe a guilty conscience.

"She answered him, "No, my brother, do not force me; for such a thing is not done in Israel; do not do this wanton folly. As for me, where could I carry my shame? And as for you, you would be as one of the wanton fools in Israel. Now therefore, I pray you, speak to the king; for he will not withhold me from you." But he would not listen to her; and being stronger than she, he forced her, and lay with her."

"Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred; so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, "Arise, be gone."

"But she said to him, "No, my brother; for this wrong in sending me away is greater than the other which you did to me." But he would not listen to her."

"He called the young man who served him and said, "Put this woman out of my presence, and bolt the door after her." Now she was wearing a long robe with sleeves; for thus were the virgin daughters of the king clad of old. So his servant put her out, and bolted the door after her. And Tamar put ashes on her head, and rent the long robe which she wore; and she laid her hand on her head, and went away, crying aloud as she went." (2 Samuel 13:12-19 RSV)

After David found out about it, although furious, he did nothing, except to keep it quiet, but Absalom did not allow Amnon's crime to go unpunished. He bided his time, and when the opportunity for his vengeance came, Absalom had Amnon killed.

"When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad; for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had forced his sister Tamar."

"After two full years Absalom had sheepshearers at Baalhazor, which is near Ephraim, and Absalom invited all the king's sons. And Absalom came to the king, and said, "Behold, your servant has sheepshearers; pray let the king and his servants go with your servant."

"But the king said to Absalom, "No, my son, let us not all go, lest we be burdensome to you." He pressed him, but he would not go but gave him his blessing."

"Then Absalom said, "If not, pray let my brother Amnon go with us."

"And the king said to him, "Why should he go with you?"

"But Absalom pressed him until he let Amnon and all the king's sons go with him. Then Absalom commanded his servants, "Mark when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, 'Strike Amnon,' then kill him. Fear not; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant." So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded." (2 Samuel 13:21-29 RSV)

Absalom then fled, leaving David in a state of conflicting emotions.

"But Absalom fled, and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day.

So Absalom fled, and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the spirit of the king longed to go forth to Absalom; for he was comforted about Amnon, seeing he was dead." (2 Samuel 13:37-39 RSV)

2 Samuel Chapter 14

Eventually, David permitted Absalom's return to Jerusalem, although two more years would go by before the king agreed to meet with him. While David mourned Absalom's absence, the king still couldn't stand the sight of him.

Fire

"So Joab arose and went to Geshur, and brought Absalom to Jerusalem. And the king said, "Let him dwell apart in his own house; he is not to come into my presence." So Absalom dwelt apart in his own house, and did not come into the king's presence." (2 Samuel 14:23-24 RSV)

Absalom's rash character made itself evident again; by means of an act of arson, and the obvious threat of more, Absalom forced Joab to get him in to see the king. David welcomed him, but he would soon be very sorry that he allowed his dangerous son back to Jerusalem at all. Absalom's next target would be David himself.

"So Absalom dwelt two full years in Jerusalem, without coming into the king's presence.

Then Absalom sent for Joab, to send him to the king; but Joab would not come to him. And he sent a second time, but Joab would not come. Then he said to his servants, "See, Joab's field is next to mine, and he has barley there; go and set it on fire." So Absalom's servants set the field on fire.

Then Joab arose and went to Absalom at his house, and said to him, "Why have your servants set my field on fire?"

Absalom answered Joab, "Behold, I sent word to you, 'Come here, that I may send you to the king, to ask, "Why have I come from Geshur? It would be better for me to be there still." Now therefore let me go into the presence of the king; and if there is guilt in me, let him kill me.'"

Then Joab went to the king, and told him; and he summoned Absalom. So he came to the king, and bowed himself on his face to the ground before the king; and the king kissed Absalom." (2 Samuel 14:28-33 RSV)

Fact Finder: How many royal dynasties did Israel have? How many royal dynasties did Judah have?
See Israelite Dynasties


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